The Brady Bunch: Ensure A Lasting Legacy for Blended Families

Remember The Brady Bunch? The “Blended” family dynamic has become the new normal, but very different than the Brady Bunch Family of 1970’s TV.

Today many families are “blended” and have stepchildren that aren’t legally adopted, but are considered “their” children, nonetheless.  As a second marriage lasts for many years, quite often, the spouses decide to leave everything to the surviving spouse instead of planning for their own children.

Imagine that Mike Brady, in today’s world, sits at his desk to draft a will from an online resource. He wants to save some money, so the price looks reasonable. He leaves everything to his lovely wife, Carol, as he knows she will take care of his children. Later that year, Mike passes away. The following are potential problems he created.

Disinherited Loved Ones

Suppose the will he created online omitted information for a blended family or definitions of “descendants.” In that case, he may have unintentionally disinherited his stepdaughters, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, by electing to divide his assets among his “descendants” (biological or adopted children, not stepchildren.)

A more devastating outcome would occur if Carol became incapacitated following Mike’s death and her daughters took over the family finances to their own benefit, potentially disinheriting Mike’s sons.

Even worse, if Carol remarries, her future husband and stepchildren may ultimately inherit whatever is left, leaving Greg and his brothers entirely out of the picture.

Violating Specific Laws

He may have left his home for his lovely wife, Carol. Still, he may have unintentionally violated the Florida Constitutional Law’s homestead provisions by not including his children as beneficiaries.

Minor Beneficiaries

Mike loved his architecture business and may have decided his teenage son Bobby should inherit his company. Minor beneficiaries may only have the legal authority to take control of their inheritance once they reach the age of 18 or 21. If Bobby isn’t yet 18, he may need to have court-appointed guardianship established.

Nightmare Probate Process

If any of the above occurred, Carol might need to hire an attorney and begin the long road through Probate. Although a will was created, a judge has determined that it was legally insufficient, and now the bunch must deal with probating an intestate estate. 

According to Florida Law, the stepdaughters will not be entitled to inherit anything from Mike’s estate. A battle may ensue between the step-siblings over financial assets, personal items, or even the family dog (Tiger.)

Failing to fund a trust

If Mike created a DIY trust to avoid Probate and didn’t “fund the trust” (i.e. transfer the title of his money and property into the name of the trust or direct as POD), the bunch will still need to endure the probate process and trust administration.

Our takeaway: don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish in creating your lasting legacies.

Andrea L. Jakob, PA is located at 12401 Orange Drive, suite 219 in Davie.
They can be reached at 954-862-1479 or on the web at